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The State of the Darren-Sphere

Posted By Darren Rowse 8th of September 2009 Case Studies, ProBlogger Site News 0 Comments

In this post I’d like to give an update of the different sites that I work on, how they’re going and what I’m working on with them.


3 questions that I get a lot are:

  1. You seem to do a lot of ‘stuff’ – can you give me a quick overview?
  2. I know you from (insert blog/social network name here) but today discovered you also are at (insert blog/network here) – what else do you do?
  3. How is your business going – you used to give us income updates – can you give us another update?

As a result today I want to create a post that attempts to summarize all of the activities that I’m actively involved with these days (ie it doesn’t include about 30 blogs that I have previously owned or blogged on which today are dormant).

I’m not going to give an income update as such except to say that revenue from my blogging related activities remains well into the Six Figure bracket (annually) and that each year since I’ve started blogging as an income source has seen it grow in healthy increases.

I hope that what follows is of use to those who’re interested:

My Blogs

These days I own three active blogs. They are visited collectively by around 2.8 million people per month, subscribed to via RSS and email by around 480,000 subscribers and have social media network between them of around 110,000 people. Let me break it down from largest to smallest:

Digital Photography School

dps-logoDPS has enjoyed continued growth over the last 12 months. While finding advertisers has been a little difficult in this climate (although we did run a very successful campaign with Lenovo earlier in the year) I’ve seen increases in income as a result of more effort in affiliate promotions but also AdSense and Chitika.

I have seen a bit of an increase in expenses though as we’ve hired a number of writers as well as a community manager for the forum area.

Redesigning the site, adding new areas for cameras and post production tips and getting onto Twitter have all helped to grow DPS. The future looks really bright for this community – I’m particularly looking forward to the release of the communities first products (two ebooks) later in the year.

  • Monthly Traffic – 1,960,612 Visitors viewing 6,571,151 pages (based upon the last 30 days – Data from Google Analytics)
  • Subscribers – 311,813 (made up of 200,000 newsletter subscribers and 111,000 RSS subscribers)
  • Forum Members – 60.644
  • Twitter Followers – 16,074 followers
  • DPS on Facebook – 2,277 fans



Traffic wise ProBlogger’s growth has been less spectacular than DPS but steady.

The release of the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog Workbook earlier in the year was an amazing learning experience and a profitable venture.

The Job boards have also continued to grow both in terms of ads being listed and also traffic/subscriber numbers. It’s certainly not my biggest earner but it’s a daily income that has risen and that is quite passive.

The main income streams from ProBlogger have been direct ad sales (we’ve been sold out for a long time although I’m told we have one slot open at the moment) and healthy affiliate promotions (I’m lucky that there are so many quality products related to this blog).

In the coming weeks ProBlogger will expand with the launch of ProBlogger.Community.

  • Monthly Traffic – 531,804 unique visitors viewing 866,093 pages
  • Subscribers – 123,000 RSS Subscribers
  • Newsletter Subscribers – 29,890 (across a number of different lists)
  • Twitter Followers – 76,273 followers
  • ProBlogger on Facebook – 15,242 fans
  • ProBlogger Job Boards – around 2000 RSS subscriber



My newest blog and seeing a steady growth. Written mainly by a group of guest posts TwiTip has done fairly well. I’m about to launch a redesign of the site which will give it a more professional look but also add some great new features.

Income has been a little tougher on this one – mainly due to my lack of time to actually go after advertisers. Having said that – I’ve run a couple of affiliate programs that have done pretty well (still room for improvement though on the ad front).

  • Traffic – 256,430 Visitors viewing 326,484 pages
  • Subscribers – 21,512 RSS subscribers

Other Interests

I try to be active on a number of social media sites, networks and maintain an interest in a variety of other projects including:

Looking Forward

In the next few months there are a number of new things that will add to this list (because I have so much spare time):

  • ProBlogger.com (a community site for bloggers)
  • Two new ebooks for Digital Photography School (I’m working on two which will hopefully be released before the end of the year)
  • Possibly another ebook for ProBlogger – working with another blogger on this
  • A New Site with ebook – I can’t say too much about this but I’m looking forward to collaborating with another blogger on a new site that will relate to both ProBlogger and TwiTip.
  • One more Bigger Secret Collaboration with a couple of other bloggers – Hopefully with an October launch

All in all I’m fairly busy. While there are opportunities arising every day or two that I could do more on if I had the time (or if I decided to hire a staff) I’m attempting to keep things relatively contained (you might not think so from the above list but it’s the tip of the iceberg of what I get asked to do).

All in all it’s a fun business to be in, a profitable way to make a living and it does still give me flexibility to spend time with my family, friends and community groups that I belong to – doing the things that are important to me.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. I too want to hear how you manage this head-spinning schedule.

    I understand how your gigs keep expanding. After working on my personal blog, I developed a new site which I am working on now. It’s like each site is a building block to a bigger and better idea.

  2. Darren, you are surely one busy guy! :-)
    I am the same way, I love to have tons of work that keep me busy and going ( well, of course I am complaining of lack of time often, but you can’t beat the thrill :-) .
    This post is actually very helpful! I didn’t know half of the stuff you are connected with :-) Very interesting!
    Keep up the good work!

  3. The figures for DPS is awesome. You seem to be doing very good, good going.

  4. Good on you, Cobber! I appreciate your frank, open, no-nonsense approach. Sounds like you work hard and deserve every cent you make. All power to your 472 arms! Best regards, P. :)

  5. Woah, that’s crazy lots of stuff. And I never have thought that the traffic you get for your DPS blog actually 4 times more than ProBlogger. Just amazing.

  6. You are really great.It was really a great inspiration.Thanks for sharing this post with us.

  7. Darren, I love the top pictures. I think your glasses are definitely your “trademark.” Very cool and intellectual.

    Congrats on your success this past year, by the way. I look forward to hearing more about your “secret” projects…

  8. Looks like you have a full workload.

  9. I think a good companion piece to this post would be a breakdown of a “typical” weekly schedule for you.

    Speaking for myself, I think seeing what you do on a regular basis would not only be inspiring but would also show what areas of blogging I may need to focus or spend less time on.

    Just an idea :D

    Wesley Craig Green
    The Geek Entrepreneur

  10. Waw… I have to say wao.. Tell me, I always wonder about you guys -the successful blogger- who get on the top : HOW DID YOU START IT? I means, we all know how successful you are, but when you 1st running your online job and started blogging, did you face the same obstacle like ours? Or you just start running smoothly since beginning? And how much money did you invest when you 1st started blogging? Did you start with blog or you made website or join affiliate program? which of which?

    Btw, Darren. You are inspiring! Thanks!

    Money Making Blogspot

  11. Hey Darren Rowse you post here such a fantastic article. I think he’s out to make more money, millions more.. Darren is really doing the great work as per his article said..

  12. Darren, your remark about new opportunities every day if only you had the time to pursue them is true. It seems always the more you have on your plate the more potential things you could do show up. I guess this is not a bad thing though it is when you are not seeing any new opportunities that you begin to worry.

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